Car goes ‘airborne’ off the road and down 500-foot hill outside Veyo

WASHINGTON COUNTY — A driver lost control of her car early Monday morning outside of Veyo, launching the vehicle off the road and careening down into a dirt berm and tree.

The obstacles stopped the silver Hyundai Sonata before it could hurtle down the remainder of the estimated 500-foot hill, but initial rescue efforts were foiled by indications that the car could continue its descent if care wasn’t taken.

A driver drove off a cliff outside of Veyo Monday and ended up against a dirt berm and a tree. Washington County, Utah, Nov. 20, 2017 | | Photo by Ric Wayman, St. George News

Washington County Sheriff’s Dept. Sgt. Darrell Cashin said the driver of the Hyundai was southbound on West Center Street when she left the roadway.

“(She) went off a cliff, was airborne and landed into a berm.”

The car was stopped approximately 80 feet down the hill, precariously rested against the berm and a tree, trapping the driver. Washington County Search and Rescue personnel were called out to assist in the rescue, but when they reached the Sonata and tried to free the driver, the car started to “creak,” Cashin said.

Ropes and chains were procured to stabilize the vehicle and keep it from continuing to slide down the hill. Once the car was secured, the woman was freed, placed in a search and rescue Stokes basket and raised to the top of the hill. She was taken by Intermountain Life Flight to Dixie Regional Medical Center in St. George.

“She was conscious and breathing, (but) she was in pain,” Cashin said. “I would say she is in serious condition but not critical. Nothing life threatening at this point.”

Cashin said the driver was apparently wearing her seat belt.

A tow truck worker prepares a Hyundai Sonata for a tow up the hill after the driver drove off a cliff outside of Veyo Monday and ended up against a dirt berm and a tree, Washington County, Utah, Nov. 20, 2017 | | Photo by Ric Wayman, St. George News

“There was no deformation of the steering wheel, which would indicate she was wearing it. Usually, if she wasn’t, with that type of frontal impact, her body would have pushed that steering column either up or in. There was no sign of that.”

A tow  truck was able to winch the Sonata back up the hill. The car had heavy damage to most of the body, and the roof had been ripped off at points. The windshield was broken with a large hole in it.

Based on skid marks on the road, Cashin was able to identify the point where the driver most likely lost control of her vehicle but said the cause of the incident was still under investigation.

“We’re still trying to figure out … what caused her to go off the road, how much distance, how much speed.”

Units from Dammeron Valley Fire Department, Washington County Sheriff’s Office, Gold Cross Ambulance and Intermountain Life Flight responded to the scene, which closed the road for over two hours.

This report is based on preliminary information provided by law enforcement or other emergency responders and may not contain the full scope of findings.

Email: rwayman@stgnews.com

Twitter: @STGnews | @NewsWayman

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2017, all rights reserved.

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1 Comment

  • stevo November 20, 2017 at 1:28 pm

    I was happy to read that the car didn’t go all the way down the hill but the title of the article sure leads one to believe that is what happened.

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